Topic: Te Punakai

Topic type:

Past exhibition, from October 4, 2008-January 10, 2010.

The Waikato Museum started an on-going project to document the poukai trail in 2006. Images by Museum photographer Beau Morgan capture key moments at various Poukai Marae in the King country. The exhibition has been developed with the support of the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust to recognise the 150 years of Kingitanga.

Te Punakai explores an integral part of Te Kiingitanga, the Maaori King movement that was started in the 1850's in response to increasing pressure on Maaori to sell their land. Taawhiao, son of the first Maaori King Potatau Te Wherowhero, instituted Poukai to console his people who were widowed, bereaved and destitute in the wake of conflicts between the military and Maaori.

Tawhiao saw the gathering of Maori at their local marae as a way to bring his people together. The King would pay annual visits to King movement marae and Poukai developed into an event which would later ensure direct consultation of the people with their Leader.

Poukai is a time of remembrance. Since the first Poukai held in 1885 at Whatiwhatihoe, Poukai has spread to 31 Marae around the North Island from Shannon to Te Teko and the wider Waikato region. It continues today through the presence of King Tuheitia.


About the Photographer:

Beauman Morgan BMA

"These photos represent a time of change for Te Kiingitanga but on a more personal note they depict my learning and my appreciation for our people and our history. I would like to thank the King and his family and the people of Tainui for the privilege to take these images. The result is a record that will help people learn and a nation to remember."

Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust:

Rahui Papa, Project Manager, Kingitanga 150th Celebrations

"This is another phase in the relationship between Tainui and the Museum. The Te Punakai Exhibition is an opportunity for the community to experience a cultural pillar of the Kiingitanga. We look forward to working with the Museum to offer further windows into the culture of the Waikato Region"

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